Thursday, April 25, 2013

A little bit of this, a little bit of that, and a rant.

There's been a lot going on recently, and I've not been able to pay as much attention to this page as I'd like.  My apologies to my regular crowd!

First, the weather is moving towards spring - finally - and there's some stuff that just has to happen in the yard in spring.  Longer days, more daylight, less time on the machine the Cyberwife calls my mistress.   Sigh.

Second, two of the cyberdaughters are pregnant, one with her sixth and the other (the oldest) with TWINS!  This'll make nine grandkids by December.  (My family breeds like rabbits - just let us put down roots, and we'll literally own the whole town in a generation, either outright or just by marrying into it!)

Next, one of my old friends on Facebook, Linda G., is dying of cancer.  Lung, liver and pancreatic.  She is not expected to last very long and has been moved to hospice.  Needless to say, her family is devastated, and the folks on FB who all belong to the group she started are all still pretty much in shock.

I got to meet Linda last year when I drove down to Florida to see Cyberdaughter the Youngest as I passed through Brunswick, Georgia, where Linda and a lot of the FB folks live.  It was a rare opportunity to do a face to face with an Internet friend, and it was good to meet her and share a dining experience, however briefly.

I finally have to face the fact that I am now old enough to begin to experience the death of people I know personally.  That is an idea I will need to adjust to.  It is a new one, and I am not certain how well I will be able to handle it.  Stay tuned on that one.

Last, I am working on a book.  Science-fantasy, and I will not (at this time) reveal the plot.  When I am comfy with it, I will perhaps release the prologue to see how it goes over.  So that will take up more time too.


Now, I promised you a rant, and I will not disappoint!  It will be a bit nuanced, though, because it impacts upon a couple of subjects I've touched on before.

First, Rachael Maddow had a very good segment the other day about how the right wing press - the mainstream bunch - has finally gone off on how Islam is totally at fault for the Boston bombing and how it is truly our enemy and how we should now go to war against the whole religion.

I have avoided, except in the most egregious cases, covering the right wing crazy stuff, because it has become so damn normal. Every time I turn around, some right wing nutbag politician has gone off the deep end and said something so totally stupid, if this were forty years ago, they'd have locked him behind a padded door.  But it isn't, it is now, and it is so damn normal, it is almost expected.

But this goes beyond crazy.

Islam is followed, nominally, by something over two billion people.  Now, one can argue as to the sincerity of many of them, given the totalitarian nature of a religion that kills people who say they don't believe the bullshit any longer, but there is no doubt that it certainly controls that many.  Meaning that it can command the public loyalty of those billions and can call upon many of them as combat soldiers if needed.  I truly question the wisdom of going to war with a religion that can command such numbers when our single country comprises less than 400 million.  True, we may have the biggest and most advanced military in the world, but as a past military man (I cannot remember the name of) once said, "Quantity has a quality all it's own!"

A population of two billion can command a lot more combat soldiers than we can.  A lot more.

Besides, the idea that every muslim bears responsibility for the crimes of a small fanatical minority is problematic.

I know that I have expounded on the theory that moderate or even liberal christians (and muslims), by continuing to believe in the sacredness of their holy scriptures, bear some responsibility for the fanaticism of the fundamentalists.  There is some measure of truth to that.  By cherry picking the holy books and ignoring the bad parts, you do allow the bad guys to cherry pick their own verses to provide religious cover for their criminal behavior.  Picking the bad ones you have ignored, thus creating a version of your religion that is probably diametrically opposed to what you, as a liberal, believe.

Funny how the same book can support two completely opposed religious ideals, huh?

On the basis of argument in the public sphere, I can argue this quite sincerely, yet believe at the same time that to blame the liberal or even the moderates to the point of war is nonsensical.

There is a definite difference between arguing theology and dropping bombs.  Public debate and argument is something that can persuade people to one's point of view - and a lot of people are moving away from religion, and not just in the US.  There is a growing number of very courageous people, both men and women in the muslim world, who are beginning to take a stand.

Islam is a bit younger than christianity, by about six hundred years.  Funny how that coincides with the period of time after its creation when christianity began its internal struggle we now call The Enlightenment - that period when people began to see through the sciences and a growing sophisticated society that the old simple values of their religion just didn't work any longer.

Islam is now in the midst of their own struggle with the principles of Enlightenment.  Our news media don't cover it much for some stupid reason, but there ARE muslims out there of a moderate or even liberal persuasion who are vehemently opposed to the fundamentalism of the fanatics and argue strenuously against their actions, condemning them at every turn.  There ARE muslims in this country who are committed to the  American ideals of freedom, justice and the separation of church and state, and are willing to serve in our military to fight and die for those ideals.

The willingness of the right wing media to ignore these people and paint them with a broad fanatical brush is stupid, ignorant and ultimately self defeating.

There are plenty of reasons why I fight religious ideas.  The existence of fanatic fundamentalists willing to kill innocent people (even of their own faith) is one of the best reasons I can think of.  But the Islamic faith isn't the only one that breeds these nuts, Christianity has its share, the Jewish faith does and so do the supposedly peaceful Hindu.

The crimes of a few are NOT reason to declare war on over two billion people in dozens of countries.

We do NOT have the resources to win, folks. Think about that, if for no other reason.

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